Christmas is not really celebrated to the extent it is in other Western Cultures, so we did not see Christmas decorations, hear the music and face the crowds Nov 1 like at home. It does creep into things here, mostly at western establishments by about mid November. The hotel across the street from us has a large Red tree on its roof and a Santa in a snowmobile inside the lobby. A few decorations and trees are up in the local restaurants and stores. Last weekend we went to Yuan Garden and for the lack of Christmas elsewhere in China, this place makes up for it! This large building is full of vendors who now have every possible space crammed with trees, lights, decorations and any other imaginable Christmas thing. Your senses are overloaded by the colours, sparkle and lights. It is hard for your eyes to take in what you are seeing and your brain to focus and understand — it is just overwhelmed. There is no space wasted… so much so that you can barely MOVE down the aisles. We didn’t buy anything, but it was fascinating to see.
Inside the market is a large pond filled with large carp. Lots of little shops are all around and a bridge goes from one side to the other. A local Chinese man who spoke very good English stopped to chat to us because John was wearing a short sleeve t-shirt and no jacket. It was about 15-16c and sunny… so comfortable. I was wearing a light jacket, but many locals (as he pointed out) wear many layers…. t-shirt, sweater and winter coats. He had to touch John’s arm (as many locals want to because they don’t believe he is not wearing a jacket). Well Chinese people have very little if any hair on their arms, where as John does. This man very loudly proclaimed…. “OH like Panda Bear! You soft, like Panda!” Oh it was too funny! I have a photo of the man touching John… the newest tourist attraction in China! Who knew Panda’s also come from Canada?
This was our third time to the markets here and this time it was more comfortable (not 45-50c like the first few times we went), but it was still crowded. We bought a few Christmas gifts… they have so many shops. Again we hardly saw everything… we will have to go back and finish off the shopping before we head home for the holidays.
This week is a busy one with lots of Christmas concert practice and report cards due. Last week I was at school late every night trying to get things done. Reports can only be done at school and it is so hard to try to do them on prep… not enough time and too many interruptions. All I need to do now is edit and print… phew ahead of schedule. Hopefully no changes and then I can start to get into the holiday mode… which is difficult when it has been in the high teens and even 22c this week! Leaves are just changing and starting to fall! Feels like October, not Dec. Guess we need to head back to the Christmas markets to get into the mood!
Stay tuned for more…